Jean and I have been living in Port Elizabeth for over a year now and it has been much tougher, though simultaneously much easier, than I anticipated on the long and lonely 8 hour drive from Cape Town on the day of the Big Move.
The first year in Port Elizabeth brought with it a few minor personal catastrophes, including being diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis, finding absolutely ZERO work opportunity in the digital/ marketing/ social media industry, being swallowed whole(-ish) by depression and anxiety, being consumed with guilt for the Cape Town friendships I’ve let slip, and realising my own bottomless capacity for self-loathing.
I had, somewhat naively, expected to have made friends (at least one or two) by the start of 2018, which isn’t hard when you work with many people or already have contacts in a new city. I, however, spent the first few months in PE doing freelance writing and social media work from home, while sending out my CV to so many places I lost count. Some of the job descriptions were so tangentially connected to my field and experience it’s laughable; some jobs I was vastly over-qualified for; some jobs I didn’t actually want to do at all but I felt desperate to get myself out there. After all that, I didn’t receive a single call back. Not one.
Taking the overwhelming lack of opportunity in my stride (after lots of crying and wine drinking of course) I decided to apply for study at Nelson Mandela University and do my English Literature Honours, something I have always wanted to do. Where better to meet like-minded people than at university? Unfortunately and quite shockingly, I was literally the only person who applied. For English Lit Honours. At a major university. They decided not to offer the course in 2018.
After a few uncertain months, I started working for my parents-in-law, in the transport and logistics industry. The opportunity was fortuitous as they needed me and I love working for them, but also sad because it effectively means the end of my personal career ambitions. Or at least, the end of how I thought I would pursue my personal career ambitions. This also means I work in an office made up of 4 people, one of whom I’m married to and two of whom are my in laws – not exactly prime friend-making opportunity.
All of this has made it pretty challenging to meet new people, because adults really only make friends at work, through existing friends, or at church. And Jean and I have no immediate plans to try the latter.
So that’s why I’m here, again. Back to a blog I started with hopeful intentions of creative exploration, but subsequently treated like I did the bubble-gum blue Nike Air Max I made Jean buy for me in 2015 – swearing they were cool and everyone was wearing them, before promptly forgetting about them, feeling vaguely cringe that I own them and totally ignoring them in my wardrobe every day. Who knew they would come in handy as a metaphor for my blog three years later?
I’ve simplified some of the pages and topics on here, having realised I was trying too hard to fit the mould of other blogs I enjoy reading. Which is probably why I couldn’t keep up the momentum of posting. Perhaps I’m back because my need to share my thoughts with other people who aren’t my husband has finally eclipsed my self-consciousness about putting myself out there. Or maybe I’m finally ready to start doing things my way without fear or anxiety about what others will think or worrying if they’ll even care.
Whatever it is, I’m working on it.